The Archives and History Building Dedication

On June 19, 2014, in Archives, Photographs, by Dorian Randall
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Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series chronicling the construction of the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for her research.

Cameraman in foreground, with a speaker standing before seated guests. Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH).

Cameraman in foreground, with a speaker standing before seated guests. Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH).

 

After two years of construction, at an ultimate cost of $1.29 million ($7.8 million today), the building was dedicated on June 3, 1971, at 2:00 pm.  The date was a significant one: the Confederate Memorial, State Capitol, and Old Capitol Restoration were dedicated on that same date in 1891, 1903, and 1961, respectively, the same date that Jefferson Davis was born in 1808.  As president of the Board of Trustees, William F. Winter presided over the dedication. Governor John Bell Williams gave the main address, while former governor J.P. Coleman laid the cornerstone. Also present were former governors Ross Barnett and Paul B. Johnson, Lieutenant Governor Charles L. Sullivan, Secretary of State Heber Ladner, Director of the Building Commission Cecil Yarbro, and Speaker of the House John R. Junkin.  After the dedication, an open house allowed the public its first look at the new building, and periodic tours were conducted by the archives staff for some time afterwards.

Staff photograph of the Capers Building dedication ceremony.  Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5526. (MDAH)

Staff photograph of the Capers Building dedication ceremony. Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5526. (MDAH)

References:

Mississippi Department of Archives and History in-house workshop on giving building tours, June 10, 1971 audio transcript (http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/vault/projects/OHtranscripts/AU710_104014.pdf)

Series 1258: Charlotte Capers Building Files, 1928-1992. Box 4899.

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1966-1970

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1971 (dedication year)

A Building Survey for a New Archives Building, for the Board of Trustees, Department of Archives and History, prepared by William D. Morrison, Jr., 1966

Tauches, Karen. “The Fate of History: The Old Archives Building is Under Review.” Burnaway, published July 22, 2011. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://burnaway.org/the-fate-of-history-the-old-archives-building-is-under-review/

CR&HM. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/wfm-archives-and-history/

WFM Archives and History. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/crhm/

Money conversions performed at http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

 

 

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Chloe Edwards, of the Government Records Section, brings us this post in an ongoing series chronicling the construction of the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building. Many thanks to Ms. Edwards for her research.

Photograph of the Capers Building in 1971.  Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH)

Photograph of the Capers Building in 1971. Information and Education Division, Series 1349, Box 5562. (MDAH)

Currently the home of MDAH’s Historic Preservation Division, the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building was the department’s first purpose-built home. MDAH was long overdue for a building of its own after nearly forty years in the State Capitol basement (1903-1940) and a further twenty-three years in the north wing of the War Memorial Building. The department’s quarters at the War Memorial were cramped (its search room was a scant twenty-four square feet), which slowed collecting efforts. Perhaps more seriously, there was no way to control the temperature or humidity in records storage areas, resulting in inevitable damage to the records. Thus, in 1963, with the restoration of the Old Capitol and installation of the State Historical Museum within it complete, MDAH Director Charlotte Capers and Dr. R.A. McLemore (then president of the Department’s Board of Trustees) began campaigning for the funds to build a new home for the archives.

Sources:

Mississippi Department of Archives and History in-house workshop on giving building tours, June 10, 1971 audio transcript (http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/vault/projects/OHtranscripts/AU710_104014.pdf)

Series 1258: Charlotte Capers Building Files, 1928-1992. Box 4899.

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1966-1970

Subject file: Archives and History Building, 1971 (dedication year)

A Building Survey for a New Archives Building, for the Board of Trustees, Department of Archives and History, prepared by William D. Morrison, Jr., 1966

Tauches, Karen. “The Fate of History: The Old Archives Building is Under Review.” Burnaway, published July 22, 2011. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://burnaway.org/the-fate-of-history-the-old-archives-building-is-under-review/

CR&HM. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/wfm-archives-and-history/

WFM Archives and History. Accessed April 3, 2014 at http://www.dalepartners.com/civic-corporate/crhm/

Money conversions performed at http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl

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Map of Meridian, Mississippi (side 2). Call number: MA/2003.0150 (b) MDAH Collection

Map of Meridian, Mississippi (side 2). Call number: MA/2003.0150 (b) MDAH Collection

These maps are part of a large group that was recently digitized and made available in the online catalog. Click the title to view the map or click “Link to the catalog” to view its catalog record.

Map of Jackson, Mississippi [1929?]. Call number: MA/2003.0113 (b) Link to the catalog.

Map of Jackson, Mississippi [1948?]. Call number: MA/2003.0126 (b) Link to the catalog.

Jackson ["Spirit of '76"]. Call number: MA/2003.0130 (b) Link to the catalog.

Official map of Jackson, Miss [1940s?]. Call number: MA/2003.0137 (b) Link to the catalog.

Official map of Jackson, Miss [1940s?]. Call number: MA/2003.0139 (b) Link to the catalog.

Map of Meridian, Mississippi. Call number: MA/2003.0150 (b) Link to the catalog.

Ocean Springs, Mississippi [1973]. Call number:MA/2003.0157 (b) Link to the catalog.

Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi, 1930. Call number: MA/2003.0192 (b) Link to the catalog.

Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi [1930]. Call number: MA/2003.0193 (b) Link to the catalog.

Vicksburg, Warren County, Mississippi [1930]. Call number: MA/2003.0194 (b) Link to the catalog.

City of Vicksburg, Warren County [1962]. Call number: MA/2003.0202(b) Link to the catalog.

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Maps Digitized

On July 12, 2013, in Maps, by Amanda
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"Map of beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi." Call number: MA/2003.0062 (b) MDAH

“Map of beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi.” Call number: MA/2003.0062 (b) MDAH

A large group of maps was recently digitized and linked to the MDAH online catalog. There are more maps to come in additional blog posts. Click the title to view the map or click “Link to the catalog” to view its catalog record.

Map of Adams County, (1890?). Call number: MA/2003.0005 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Grenada County, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0024 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

George County, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0027 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jefferson County, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0051 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jones County, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0053 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Hinds County white schools map, c. 1940. Call number: MA/2003.0056 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

“Map of beautiful Biloxi, Mississippi.” Call number: MA/2003.0062 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog (pictured above).

City of Clinton, Mississippi. Call number: MA/2003.0075 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Map of Gulfport, Mississippi. Call number: MA/2003.0090 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jackson, Mississippi. Call number: MA/2003.0106 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

Jackson, Miss., 1910. Call number: MA/2003.0110 (b) MDAH. Link to the catalog.

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Medgar Evers: Travels and Connections

On July 9, 2013, in Archives, by Dorian Randall
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The life of Medgar Evers is synonymous with the civil rights struggle and his strong leadership in the movement. This series, written by Dorian Randall, will explore his life, work, and legacy using related collections at MDAH. This is the final post of the series.

Travel was an important part of Medgar Evers’ duties as NAACP field secretary.

 

This matchbook from Philadelphia, PA and money clip from Minnesota were found in the desk drawer in Evers' NAACP office and could habe been picked up on his travels. Accession number: 2004.21.10 and 2004.21.3a. (Medgar Evers collection)

This matchbook from Philadelphia, PA and money clip from Minnesota were found in the desk drawer in Evers’ NAACP office and could have been picked up on his travels. Accession number: 2004.21.10 and 2004.21.3a. (Museum Division Collection)

Evers traveled around the state to increase membership at local branches and across the country to give speeches at meetings and conferences. In June 1956, Evers attended the NAACP’s forty-seventh annual meeting in San Francisco, where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an address championing direct action.1 In May1959, Evers spoke at the Los Angeles NAACP branch, and in September of that same year he traveled to Panama City, Florida to address the Florida State Conference of NAACP Branches.2 He made various political connections on these trips, forming a close relationship with U.S. Congressman Charles C. Diggs, Jr.

February 17, 1956 letter to Charles C. Diggs regarding voter registration. Call number: Z/2231.000/S, box 2, folder 4 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)

February 17, 1956 letter to Charles C. Diggs regarding voter registration. Call number: Z/2231.000/S, box 2, folder 4 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)

Diggs was a Michigan congressman and leader in African American voter registration. In 1956, Diggs and Evers wrote a series of letter to one another regarding intimidation and other illegal tactics that prevented voter registration for black Mississippians. Evers even introduced Diggs at a celebration for the third anniversary of the Brown ruling held at the Masonic Temple in Jackson.3

Evers and author James Baldwin.

Evers and author James Baldwin. Call number: Z.2231.4.009 (Medgar Wiley and Myrlie Beasley Papers)

Evers also connected with those in arts and entertainment. He met award-winning author James Baldwin of Harlem when Baldwin traveled to Jackson in 1962 in support of James Meredith, who had just enrolled at the University of Mississippi. “He had the calm of someone who knows they’re going to die before their time—like Martin Luther King,” Baldwin said of Evers.4 Baldwin accompanied Evers on a trip investigating a murder in rural Mississippi and the two men developed a close friendship. By then Baldwin was already an outspoken civil rights activist. His play Blues for Mister Charlie, which he began writing before Evers’ death in 1963, was based on the murder of Emmett Till. Baldwin said that when Evers died he “resolved that nothing under heaven would prevent me from getting this play done.”5 Baldwin dedicated Blues to Evers’ family and memory.


1 Michael V. Williams, Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr (Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 2011), 132.
2 Myrlie Evers-Williams and Manning Marable, eds., The Autobiography of Medgar Evers: A Hero’s Life and Legacy revealed Through His Writings, Letters, and Speeches (New York: Basic Civitas Books, 2005), 140, 158.
3 Evers-Williams, The Autobiography of Medgar Evers, 72.
4 W.J. Weatherby, James Baldwin: Artist on Fire (New York: Donald I. Fine, Inc., 1989), 3.
5 Weatherby, James Baldwin, 237.